TEAM Buzz pushes community focus

Photo by Julia Bunch

Although many students know Tech’s motto in order to win a trivia game or to recite it as a tour guide, “Progress and Service” is integral to the overall atmosphere of the institute.

Whether this pertains to individual feats of volunteerism or some incredible funding by the philanthropic endeavors of various organizations on campus, numerous avenues are available for students to engage with the outside community and give a bit back to the less fortunate around us.

“It’s easy to forget about the intense need for service just outside the confines of the ‘Tech Bubble,’” said Bonnie Gaupp, a third-year INTA major. “Atlanta, as with any major city, has a high rate of homelessness and poverty, which we can sometimes ignore when we only look at the population of our own campus.”

One effort from Tech to better its own campus, benefit various organizations in Atlanta and integrate the entire student body is occurring in a little over one month courtesy of TEAM Buzz.

Malavika Mundkur, a third-year BMED major participated in last year’s Team Buzz event and volunteered at FurKids, Georgia’s largest no-kill animal shelter.

The chilly October morning began with a Dunkin’ Donuts-sponsored breakfast at the campanile, brief group introductions and a round of carpools to the nearby shelter.

After doing a bit of clerical work, operating the front desk, washing windows and sweeping the foyer, the rest of the allotted time was devoted to giving some tender love and care to the homeless kittens and puppies.

Other students in the group helped restock the kennels, clean up the messes and take out the animals for “play breaks.”

“Team Buzz was the perfect way to earn philanthropy hours with friends and give back to the community with a project that fit my passions,” Malavika said.

In general, TEAM Buzz has been able to coordinate a variety of one-day service projects for many years through various corporate sponsorships.

Past projects have included participating in charity races throughout the city, cleaning up abandoned buildings to prepare for future endeavors and converting a parking garage into a homeless shelter.

Many nearby churches, schools and food kitchens also typically reach out to the Tech community to aid in managerial and physical labor matters that keep their operations running smoothly.

As the Team Buzz website states, “The concept is simple; provide a service day that will act as a focal point and allow our campus to come together with a single plan and strategy to improve our community.”

“Georgia Tech’s motto is ‘Progress and Service. Initiatives such as TEAM Buzz summon the very best in us, a commitment that makes a positive impact in our community,” said Institute President G.P. “Bud” Peterson. “My hope is that the [Tech] family will consider volunteerism through TEAM Buzz and Hands on Atlanta, improving the quality of life throughout Atlanta.”

Thousands of students have participated in past years, and the TEAM Buzz planning committee is hoping for a worthwhile turn-out this year as well.

One prominent way that the organization attracts students is via mandatory service hours, whether it be for a GT1000 course, fraternal organization or even a personal goal.

Plus, the day-long service opportunity allows students to easily accomplish four solid philanthropy hours in a fun, social and interesting way.

By incorporating a wide variety of philanthropy organizations into the available projects, TEAM Buzz allows students to pick and choose which types of service activities would be best for their abilities and interests.

“I don’t have enough time to volunteer at humane societies throughout the school year, but I wanted to try to give back, if only for a single day,” Malavika continued.

This year, Team Buzz will occur on Saturday, Oct. 26, beginning at 8 a.m.

The day typically consists of a welcoming breakfast with free t-shirts, brief speeches and break-out sessions as students join a particular project to embark upon.

These community service projects generally last for approximately four hours, before students return to the Campanile for food, fun and relaxation, in addition to the satisfactory feeling of a bit of good karma.